Shamus Plays: WoW #10:
Murloc Madness

By Shamus Posted Thursday Dec 30, 2010

Filed under: Column 45 comments

In this episode, we kill Murlocs. And whine about drop rates.


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45 thoughts on “Shamus Plays: WoW #10:
Murloc Madness

  1. SteveDJ says:

    I’ve never played any of these MMOs – but I take it that Norman would not be allowed to just attack the Guard (just for your own satisfaction)?

    1. Ben says:

      Sadly, no. You are forced to be at least “friendly” or “neutral” with most factions in the game (which means no fighting), though there’s a few where you can choose to “declare war” on them, such as the neutral golbin cartels.

    2. Nathon says:

      Norman wouldn’t, but you could come by with your hoardies and kill all the jerk quest givers if you wanted to. Of course, then the poor lowbies wouldn’t be able to get or turn in their quests and you’d be demoted to horrible person.

      1. Irridium says:

        From what I can see, you’d probably be turned into a saint for saving everyone from the stupid.

  2. Meredith says:

    I couldn’t agree more about nonsense drop rates. If they want me to have to kill more critters per level, then just ask me to bring in 20 heads instead of 10 with a 50% rate. All the animals should have heads!

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Thank god LOTRO has (mostly) avoided this. There’s only been a few annoying drop rates, and most of those were for single items.

      There was that quest that needed like unblemished boar hides. And you had to kill the right kind of boar, and there was another type roaming around with the other enemy you needed to kill for the quest…

      1. Jarenth says:

        I still vividly remember murdering gorillas for over an hour to get one of their skins.

        Though in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been killing them by setting them on fire.

      2. Rosseloh says:

        I assume you speak of the boar-stomachs in the Lone Lands….heh, my lowbies were so glad when they finally fixed the drop rate on that one, let alone the LL revamp that changed the quest around.

    2. Pickly says:

      Guild Wars is mostly quite good about this, if a specific item is needed to complete a quest that never drops otherwise, it will drop from every single enemy of the type you need to kill. (It also helps that they don’t do things like “dire panther”, “large panther” “deadly panther” etc., so you don’t run into the problems of killing the slightly wrong version of whatever it is you need to actually kill.)

  3. Kaeltik says:

    “Fractal nonsense”. Brilliant. Why have I never heard this word pair used before? Google only shows 182 other instances. A cursory examination shows that most are actually talking about the misuse of fractals (who knew?), but there appear to be at least a couple of instances where the meaning is close to the one used here, but never with so clear a definition. Furthermore, why has no one used Fractal Nonsense for the name of a band/blog/comedy troupe/legislative body?

    1. Trix says:

      Considering the previous post on blogging, I wouldn’t be surprised if one popped up with that name :P

    2. asterismW says:

      I would so vote for the Fractal Nonsense party.

      1. MichaelG says:

        Don’t we already have two of those?

        1. Kdansky says:

          No, they are not fractal. They are just nonsense. :)

    3. I loved fractal nonsense too!

      1. Shamus says:

        In Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson has a line about how a guy’s life is “Fractally wierd”. I’m sure that’s what made me think of it.

    4. PurePareidolia says:

      I referred to Mass Effect 2’s plot as a fractal of plot holes in one of the Spoiler Warning posts so the first. So the use of the word Fractal to describe nonsense has happened before, if not in those words.

  4. guy says:

    I love the discussion of Norman’s parentage.

  5. Brandon says:

    Excellent work as usual Shamus. Always a fun read.

    As an aside though, I’m pretty sure the murloc bounty quest isn’t new. I think that Guard Thomas used to give it out though, not a bounty board.

    My theory (to help keep me sane) is that when you are collecting body parts, your character can’t be bothered to actually CUT OFF the parts that they need after the enemy is dead. No, they only spare the time to pick up the parts that fell off during the heated battle. So all murlocs have eyes, but do you know how hard it is to cut out an eye during a fight when you’re wielding a sledgehammer? Without destroying the eye? Pretty hard I imagine. Nevermind cleanly severing a head with a mace.

    I’m not sure if it is still there after Cataclysm, but I know there was a quest in Southshore that had you collect murloc heads. Apparently the head to murloc ratio is something like 1:5. The mind reels.

    1. Bryan says:

      If I remember correctly, the murloc bounty quest used to come after all of guard Thomas’ quests are complete and he sends you back to Goldshire. I think it works better on the bounty board.

      There is another murloc head collecting quest near Silvermoon with equally atrocious drop ratio. I think it’s called, “fish heads.”

  6. Robyrt says:

    Cataclysm generally padded out all the numbers in the level 1-60 content so the drop rates make more sense, and it’s amazing how much of a positive effect this has on my mood. “Oh, only 3 more Murloc Accountants to complete this quest!” is leagues beyond “Only 1 more Tattered Murloc Briefcase but IT DIDN’T DROP AGAIN ARGH.” Unfortunately, Outland has all the old problems; I hope they revamp that in line with the new, less cruel philosophy.

    One particularly affecting quest has you rescuing Murloc refugees from another faction of monsters. Frankly, I never saw why I had to kill these fish dudes anyway; it made me feel like a 19th century American slaughtering the native tribes. You just KNOW that murloc village has a storied history and treasured heirlooms.

    1. MichaelG says:

      But… they’re Murlocs! That sound alone makes me want to kill them.

      1. guy says:


        1. krellen says:

          I haven’t played WoW in nearly five years and I still want to kill you.

    2. angelofrawr says:

      Yes, treasured heirlooms that belong in my museum. Or on an auction block.

    3. Rosseloh says:

      That’s exactly it (as I’m sure has been iterated thousands of times, really). I hate having to go out and kill 30 orcs instead of 10, but saying “Kill 30 orcs” instead of “collect 10 orc-bladders” makes me feel a lot better about it, primarily because then I can (for example) plan for how long it will take versus my available time in the play session.

  7. Exasperation says:

    While I do agree that many of the things you complain about are pretty bad, I feel compelled to point out that, in real life, there are people who catch sharks, cut off the fins, and throw the rest of the shark away. Yes, to make soup with.

    So while that part may be terrible and ridiculous, you can’t really blame Blizzard for it.

    1. bit says:

      Fair enough, but the point still stands; why do you only get one fin when Murloc’s have five?

      1. Cerapa says:

        The others dont taste as good.

  8. Swimon says:

    Killing murlocs and complaining about the drop rate. Hey that’s like 90% of the wow experience isn’t it ^^
    (disclaimer: I played wow from 1 to 60 in the old days and I liked it, but killing murlocs and complaining about drop rates was an unusually big part of the experience)

  9. The Freshmaker says:

    Damn you Shamus! You’re making me want to play WoW again.. =D

  10. Jarenth says:

    Poor Norman. He might want to take some time off to beat up on a target dummy, or something, before he has a nervous breakdown.

    For an added bonus: dress the target dummy up with the useless guard armor you get in lieu of actual payment.

  11. Ramsus says:

    Oh man…the ending line….*claps* I could totally hear it in the peon voice.

  12. Hal says:

    I, for one, would love to know more about what Norman’s father is looking for.


  13. Kdansky says:

    I actually prefer those that say: “Collect 30 pristine claws” and every animal drops at least one, but sometimes multiple, along with chipped and broken ones.

    “Kill 10 bears.” gets really old really quickly, and reminds me way too much that this is actually all the “gameplay” I get from a MMO. Did I mention that I stopped playing WoW more than a year ago, and have not missed it at all? It’s such a huge waste of time, and one has much more fun playing TF2 or SC2.

    1. Brandon says:

      Videogames are by definition a huge waste of time. I don’t think there is any less value in playing WoW than there is playing SC2 or TF2. Those two games may be more varied, but they still get stale. The thing that keeps WoW (and most MMO games in general) fun for people is the social aspect more than anything.

      1. albval says:

        More varied = more _entertainment_ value, yes? Videogames are as much a waste of time as reading fiction or watching movies.

        Although, in my opinion, all above mentioned gaming examples are a waste of time – only proper RPGs are worthy of my time:-)

        1. Brandon says:

          I don’t know if more varied = more entertainment value. There’s definitely a correlation there, but I don’t think they are the same thing.

          WoW does have plenty of entertainment value, but in order to get past the grind of the gameplay, you have to get into a guild, build a little social circle, and things evolve from there. I’m sure that people have plenty of amusing raiding stories about how someone did something goofy and they all got wiped, or how they tanked the final boss of some huge dungeon with their rogue just to see if they could. To the people who have a social circle in the game, the game is so much more than just the grindy gameplay. It’s how they spend time with their friends.

          I suppose my point is, although you end up doing the same thing over and over and over in WoW, it’s the people that you are playing with that make the game interesting, fun, and fresh. So no, I don’t think something necessarily needs to be wildly varied to have more entertainment value, although it certainly doesn’t hurt.

          1. albval says:

            Probably very true. My only WoW experience is from this blog and twice watching my friend’s kid play so my knowledge of the game is negligible.

            I could argue that the social aspect makes the game more varied, despite the grindy mechanics and thus my equation holds. But since it is New Year’s Eve I wont argue, I’ll restart Grunt’s loyalty mission instead. Maybe this time I’ll be able to kill the big baddie…

            Damn Spoiler Warning.

        2. Bryan says:

          I agree that a good tabletop RPG is infinately better than playing WOW, but where I live the RPG population has waned drastically. Most of them would rather play WOW or LOTRO, it would seem.

          Or maybe I’m just getting too old? :|

      2. Kdansky says:

        Video games are not a waste of time, except if you consider anything that is not work to be a waste of time. I consider learning a language or reading a good book quite far away from being a waste of time, yet they are pointless to be honest.

        Playing TF2 is fun, as is playing Chess or Basketball.
        Playing WoW is usually very boring, with short bursts of mediocre in between.

  14. Jack V. says:

    Wait, so you unprovokedly kill an intelligent (or semi-intelligent) species, take their eyeballs, and boil them in soup? I can’t speak for the Murlocs, but the hunters seem clearly Evil with a capital E. Is there supposedly doubt about this? :)

  15. Michael says:

    Anyone know where the Murlocs came from in the series (not in the game world)? My only experience with them was as one of the creeps from Warcraft 3 (as I never moved on to WoW). But, if they predate that, I’m unaware.

    1. Kdansky says:

      They don’t. Murlocs first appeared in WC3, and made the jump into WoW from there. They got famous because the early zones had them clustered up, they sometimes had ranged weapons or casters, and would always run for help (which was readily available), so they frequently killed players.

  16. Christine says:

    On the off chance you haven’t seen this yet, PSA save the murlocs

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